Oklahoma House of Representatives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
Dorman to Hold Interim Study on Rural Firefighter Training
OKLAHOMA CITY (June 26, 2009) – State Rep. Joe Dorman announced today that he will be conducting an interim study on the efficiency, effectiveness and cost of training rural firefighters. The study was approved this week and assigned to the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources.
“There has been a push to increase the amount of training required of volunteer firefighters,” Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said. “I would like to look at these potential requirements officially and get the firefighters’ perspective.”
Pinpointing the amount of training necessary would be the goal of the study, Dorman said.
“If the increased trainings are necessary to do the job or if the trainings need to be altered to benefit the needs of the departments, then the Legislature needs to go in that direction,” Dorman said. “We need to maintain the balance for necessary skills and knowledge, but not demand so much that it will reduce recruitment and endanger the number of volunteer departments in our state.”
Maintaining effective rural fire departments is the key to necessary fire prevention and protection, along with establishing lower insurance rates and preserving property values. Providing adequately trained volunteer firefighters for departments is a necessity for preserving and developing each local volunteer department in Oklahoma .
“It is critical we maintain effective departments and provide every avenue of funding and affordable training for our firefighters,” Dorman said. “I was proud to author House Bill 1520 in 2007 at the request of the various fire protection entities and will fight every effort to water down that language, which provides affordable, accessible training to volunteer firefighters.”
House Speaker Chris Benge announced approval of legislative interim studies, which will be conducted this summer and fall.